New York Most, Least Desired US City

October 20, 2010

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Data-driven | Local & Directories / Small Biz | Real Estate

More US adults would like to live in or near New York City than any other city in America, according to results of a new Harris Poll.

Western Cities Dominate
San Diego follows New York City as the second-most-desired US city. Five Western cities populate the top 10 list, with Las Vegas, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles joining San Diego. Boston joins New York among Northeastern cities, while the South is also represented by two cities (Nashville and Atlanta). Denver is the lone Midwestern city to crack the top 10.


While New York has consistently topped this list for the last 12 years, other cities positions have been quite volatile. This year several cities have improved their rankings including:

  • San Diego, up to #2 from #4 last year;
  • Las Vegas, up to #3 from #8;
  • Los Angeles, up from #15 to #6; and,
  • Nashville and Atlanta, up from a tied for #7 from #12 and #13 last year.

Cities that have lost ground and slipped down the rankings include:

  • San Francisco, down to #5 from a tie for #2 last year;
  • Denver, down to #9 from a tie for #2;
  • Boston, down to #10 from #7; and,
  • Chicago, down to #12 from #6 last year.

New York Also Least Favorite
When asked to name the city that they would least like to live in or near to, more people choose New York than any other city. It is followed by Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.


In addition to New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles also appear on both top 10 lists. The least favorite list features five Southern cities (Houston, Miami, Washington, DC, Dallas, and New Orleans), two Midwestern cities (Detroit and Chicago), two Western cities (San Francisco and Los Angeles) and one Northeastern city (New York).

Interestingly, both lists contain a large portion of warm weather cities, demonstrating that warm climates do not appeal to everyone. In addition, least-favorite cities New Orleans and Houston both suffered extensive hurricane damage in 2005, and Detroit and Chicago have both been hit by the loss of manufacturing jobs as a result of the global economic recession.

Sunny States Have Appeal
While most/least desired city findings indicate not everyone loves warm, sunny weather, results of another recent Harris Poll indicate Americans want to live in warm-weather states. For the seventh time in a row since 2002 California tops the list of states where the most people would like to live if they did not live in their own states. The next most popular states are Hawaii, Florida, Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, New York and Washington.

Seven of the top 10 states have a warm, sunny climate. Only New York, Oregon and Washington have a cooler, cloudier weather pattern.

About the Data: This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between September 14 to 20, 2010 among 2,620 adults (aged 18 and older). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.


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